I haven't lived in Boston in years, and I suppose Townies would say that I never truly "lived in" Boston at all, but for five years in the '80s and '90s, yes, Boston was my home.
I remember my Dad's love for the city when I was a kid (he went to school there for a time), his familiarity with it ("Nobody stops at that stop sign." "Dad, is he pulling us over?" "Shit."), and our visits there.
I remember orientation week and the following five years at NU, where I met so many people I consider friends and family.
I remember learning the city as one roaming pack of Freshmen, the Christian Science Center at night, midnight trips to Tower Records, pizza at Boston House ("Ten Minutes!"), catching shows on Landsdowne Street, hanging out at Maxwell Jumps and Copperfield's, eating 2am pizza at Little Stevie's next to the guys in drag, dodging the dog poop on Gainsborough Street, and hearing the mockingbird that had taken up the "car alarm serenade" as its call.
I remember hanging out near the finish line a handful of times, much like many of the people there today. Seeing not only the elite runners and local favorites like the Hoyts, but the back-of-the-packers... the folks in Elvis outfits, the jugglers, and the one who stopped before the finish line to grab his toddler and carry him across the line with him. I remember people with periscopes so they could see the finishers over the rest of the crowd. It was always mayhem, but it was Boston's day to shine, sharing in a celebration of not only athleticism and history, but a collective pride and joy.
My heart goes out to those families directly impacted by the explosions. To my friend who ran today, thrilled to qualify and run Boston for his first time. To my other friend from work who volunteered on the race route with her running club (both are fine). To all those who stepped in where they were needed without flinching: First Responders, emergency personnel, race volunteers, citizens.
I may no longer be within Boston, but Boston is still within me.
Today, my heart aches for it.